Lobotomy from early 1930's to 1967

The philosophy of treating mental illness aggressively also known as lobotomy.


Neurologist lobotomy : A procedure in which the brains frontal lobe is severed by inserting tools through the eye socket, use a treatment for mental illness.


Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz performed a brain operation called Leucotomy in a Lisbon hospital. It was the first ever modern leucotomy to treat mental illness. This involved neurologist drilling holes into patient's skull to access the brain. the idea that mental health could be improved by psycho surgery generated from Swiss neurologist. Gottlieb Burckhardt operated on six patients with Schizophrenia and reported that it appeared that the operation was a 50% success and patients seemed to calm down. However his colleagues harshly criticized his work at the time.

On November, 12th, 1935, Moniz and Lima performed for the first time what they called a prefrontal leucotomy (“white matter cutting”). The operation was carried out on a female manic depressive patient, and lasted about 30 minutes. The patient was first anesthetized, and her skull was trepanned on both sides (that is, holes were drilled through the bone). Then, absolute alcohol was injected through the holes in the skull, into the white matter beneath the prefrontal area.


It was largely because of Freeman that the lobotomy became so popular during the 1940s and ’50s but in 1945, freeman tried to develop a trans orbital approach to lobotomy by practicing on corpses. Watts cooperated, believing that ultimately he would do the surgery and freeman would assist. Freeman put a special hammer shaped head on the ice pick, which allowed it to be pushed and pulled more easily, and it was this instrument that was used in the first trans orbital lobotomies in America in a procedure that became known as the "ice pick lobotomy".


Concerns about the effects of the lobotomy began to grow. Postoperative infections and deaths were common; autopsies showed that large areas of brains, not selected nerves were utterly destroyed. There had still been no reliable studies of the effects on patients other than freeman's optimistic data. Though some patients did continue pursue their professional and private lives after the operations, it was impossible to state that this was because of the surgery, and it was impossible to judge "recovery' in many. the insert, emotionless, inhuman quality of many lobotomized began to revolt the public. lobotomy was finally seen for what it was; not a cure, but a way of managing patients.

1953 and 1954

Chlorpromazine, the first of the new generation of revolutionary tranquilizers for schizophrenia and depression, was tested in France. After this, Freeman would be known as the "ice pick lobotomist," and his clientele rapidly diminished, along with his reputation. By 1954, psycho pharmacology had hit America, and the manufacturers of the biggest-selling tranquilizer, Thorazine, could not keep pace with demand.


The very last lobotomy performed in a hospital by Freeman. An elaborate system of checks, including interviews with social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and the patient, ensured that the irreversible operation was absolutely essential.


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